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The Films of John Badham

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American Flyers

Short Circuit (May 8/12)

An affable yet forgettable effort, Short Circuit details the chaos that ensues after an experimental robot, nicknamed Number 5, escapes from its laboratory and hides out with Ally Sheedy's Stephanie Stack - with the film subsequently revolving around the race to recover Number 5 by both a sinister military man (G.W. Bailey's Skroeder) and a friendly programmer (Steve Guttenberg's Newton Crosby) and his goofy assistant (Fisher Stevens' Ben Jabituya). Short Circuit, written by S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock, generally unfolds exactly as one might've anticipated based on the premise, with the emphasis, for the most part, placed on Number 5's fish-out-of-water exploits on Stephanie's animal-friendly property. The pervasively pleasant atmosphere is heightened by the charismatic work from stars Guttenberg, Sheedy, and Stevens, with the latter's scene-stealing turn, which is responsible for many of the film's biggest laughs ("Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too?"), standing as a consistent highlight in the film. It is, as such, not surprising to note that the periodic lulls within the narrative are relatively easy to overlook, although, by that same token, there's no denying that the movie's longer-than-necessary running time becomes more and more palpable in the buildup to the action-packed finale (eg there's a camping sequence that goes on much longer than necessary). Still, Short Circuit is a perfectly pleasant '80s adventure that boasts enough attributes to hold the attention of viewers young and old alike.

out of

Stakeout

Bird on a Wire

The Hard Way

Point of No Return

Another Stakeout

Drop Zone

Nick of Time

Incognito

Floating Away

The Jack Bull

The Last Debate

Brother's Keeper

Obsessed

Footsteps

Evel Knievel

© David Nusair